The Secret to Sleep (and the power of gratitude.)

The power of gratitude

You might remember that just a few weeks ago, I shared my dream of being chosen for Marshall Goldsmith’s 15 Coaches program.

Spoiler: I wasn’t picked.

But at the end of that post, I made a promise: to celebrate, no matter the outcome. I promised to be grateful just for the opportunity to pursue something that brings me so much joy.

That’s hard, isn’t it? To maintain a steady outpouring of gratitude, even when our circumstances are challenging?

It’s to our benefit, though. Dr. Wendy Mendes of the University of California did a study on how gratitude relates to our wellbeing, social connectivity, emotional expression and sleep quality. Unsurprisingly, gracious people proved to be less anxious and angry, more social, and they slept better. (The latter reason alone is enough, right?)

Despite all of the concrete research that tells us it’s good (for us and others) to be grateful, we struggle. But what about when you’re on the receiving end?

I have been, and trust me, it’s transformational.

After sharing my lofty goal, I received an email from a reader, thanking me for my vulnerability.

I don’t articulate my dreams for fear of falling short, she wrote, and your courage to do so is so inspiring to me.

I couldn’t believe it. What a kind and wonderful thing to say. Her words gave me energy and emboldened me to be vulnerable more often. The power of gratitude, friends.

If you’re someone who grapples with being grateful, I have a few tools that might help:

1. Keep a day-makers document. Day-makers are the people or moments that lighten your load. I have one of these, and it has everything on it, including emails and transcripts from wonderful voicemails I’ve received. Refer back to it when you need inspiration.

2. Journal. I often tell clients to take a moment at the end of a day and write down three positive things. Be detailed—these should be three things that made you feel grateful, whether that be for yourself, your spouse, a friend, a colleague or someone else. Keeping it fresh and interesting will remind you that you have many, many things to be thankful for.

3. Be specific with your thank yous. This is especially important in the workplace. It can shift the environment so easily. Saying “thank you” is great. But saying, “Thank you for taking initiative on this project and turning out great work” is powerful (be specific about the work and impact the individuals effort has made on the company).

Consider one person you are grateful for today, and then tell him or her why, specifically. You have the power to make someone’s day—and sleep better at night while you do.

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